Early Childhood Forum

ECF - at the heart of Early Years from birth to 7 years
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If you would like to contact ECF please email your enquiry to: earlychildhoodforum@yahoo.co.uk


The Early Childhood Forum (ECF), brings together national organisations and professional associations in the early childhood sector for all young children from birth to seven. ECF exists to promote inclusion, challenge inequalities, debate issues, celebrate differences and develop consensus to champion high quality experiences for young children and their families.

News & Events

Sense - Making the Case for Play Report


The new report from SENSE reveals the severe restrictions facing disabled children in accessing play, and identifies failings at every level that result in disabled children missing out on opportunities essential to their emotional, social, and physical development. A lack of attention by government, insufficient funding at a local level, and a negative attitudes towards disabled children and their families, are all barriers highlighted in the report.

The report calls for urgent action to address these inequalities and to support the Prime Minister in delivering on his recent call to improve the life chances of all children. Please follow the link for the full report:

Download: Sense_-_Making_the_Case_for_Play_-_Full_Report.pdf

HMG's Life Chances Strategy Inquiry

The Early Childhood Studies Degree Network states that there is substantial empirical evidence and numerous Parliamentary reports that recognise the importance of what happens in early childhood and the impact on life chances (APPG, Fit and Healthy Childhoods, 2015). The ECSDN strongly urges the government committee to use the Life Chances Strategy Inquiry, not just to add to this wealth of evidence, but to ensure that action is taken to actually support systemic transformation that will enhance the life chances of our youngest generation now and in the future.

Full text from ECSDN available at:

Download: ECSDN_Response_to_Life_Chances_Inquiry_Final.docx

Austerity Cuts to Children's Centres

Research led by Prof. Pamela Sammons from Oxford University's Deprtment of Education clearly indicates that whilst disadvantaged families benefit most from their use of Children's Centres, austerity cuts to service will be doubly harmful.

The ECCE study looked at 2600 families attending 117 phase 1 and phase 2 childrens' centres over a six year period.

Funding Crisis for 30 hours Childcare

National Day Nurseries Association has just published a report on the Government's proposed 30 hours free childcare provision and how it will be funded. NDNA's chief executive Purnima Tanuku said, ‘The nursery sector is fully behind the principle of more support for parents. But serious funding shortfalls stand in the way of nurseries getting on board, despite their desire to help families with free childcare.

‘Private, voluntary and independent nurseries deliver most of the Government’s free places, currently 15 hours per week for all three and four-year-olds and some two-year-olds.

‘But the nursery sector is reluctant to commit to offering more free hours when they already make a significant annual loss – an average of £34,000 per nursery (or £1.68 per child per hour) – on the funded places they currently provide.’

Julia Margo, chief executive at the Family and Childcare Trust said, 'The availability of expanded free early education for three and four year olds is absolutely crucial to helping parents who work or want to move back into work. In the short-term, the Government needs to make sure childcare providers get adequate funding so they are able to offer these extra hours. But without more radical reforms, the childcare system will not meet the needs of too many parents, children, childcare providers, employers, or the wider economy.'

Source: Catherine Gaunt, Nursery World / NDNA report

See also BBC News report at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/education-35587685

ECF Early Childhood Forum